I am happy to report that feedback on the book continues to be very positive! People enjoy the armchair travel aspect of it as they’re transported to the world’s greatest beer destinations.
One suggestion I received was to offer beer-chapter pairings. It’s an awesome idea and I wish I had thought of it! In response, I have put together a list of suggested beers to enjoy with each chapter. Happy reading and happy drinking!
January: For our very first trip of the Year in Beer, Chris and I traveled to Alaska for the Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival. I suggest pairing this chapter with your favorite Barleywine. With a glass of this style in your hand, you can do as the Alaskans do to weather the cold winter months. As an alternate, Panty Peeler, a Belgian triple, from Anchorage’s own Midnight Sun Brewing is a great choice.
February: This month, we went to San Francisco for Beerapalooza, the precursor to SF Beer Week. Cracking open one of 21st Amendment’s canned beers will help transport you to the City by the Bay. My favorite is Bitter American Extra Pale Ale, but the Brew Free or Die IPA and Hop Crisis Imperial IPA do not disappoint.
March: In March everyone becomes Irish, at least on March 17th. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in arguably the country’s most Irish city: Boston. By drinking a Harpoon IPA you’ll feel like you’re right there in Beantown with us. Heck, you may even want to treat yourself to a lobster roll or lobster bisque while you’re at it. Better still, if you’re lucky enough to be in Boston, read the book at your favorite Beer Works location and have a Curley’s Dry Irish Stout. Sláinte!
April: We learned two things during our April visit to Seattle: 1) everything deserves a second chance and 2) it can get darn cold in the Emerald City. So first, I suggest giving a beer you haven’t had in a long while, a second chance. Who knows? It may surprise you! Or second, if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that distributes Elysian, I suggest getting cozy with their Dragonstooth Stout, an Imperial Oatmeal Stout that warms the soul with its rich flavor of coffee and dark chocolate.
May: This month took us to Franconia for Germany’s second largest beer festival. Along the way we made stops in Bamberg and Cologne. One beer that will put you in the spirit of this chapter’s adventure is Schenkerla’s world famous Rauchbier. If smoked beers don’t tickle your fancy, go lighter and pour yourself a Kölsch, Cologne’s namesake beer style.
June: In June we went to Ireland. Here I would suggest anything other than Guinness and preferably an Irish craft beer. One of my favorite Irish craft beers is Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale. However, unless you’re in Ireland, you won’t be able to drink this beer as you read about our adventures on the Emerald Isle. Several beers from Porterhouse Brewing Co. and Carlow Brewing Co. are available in the U.S. and are great choices to get you in the spirit of the chapter.
July: In July, we went to the Oregon Brewers Festival, an event that brings back many memories for us. For this chapter I suggest going nostalgic and have a Full Sail beer of your choice. One of the classic Oregon breweries, their beers remain solid and refreshing.
August: August was about finally making a proper beer visit to England. Of course the beer to drink there is real ale, so ditch any thought of a lager or kegged ale. Go to your favorite pub serving beer on cask or grab yourself a Fuller’s London Pride. Then crack open the book and join us as we celebrate the great English brewing tradition.
September: This month was an easy trip to plan for the Year in Beer. We went to Oktoberfest, the penultimate adventure for any beer geek. Of course the pairing of choice is to fill yourself up a Maß of fest beer from any one of Munich’s six breweries. Put on your lederhosen or dirndl and you’ll be hearing Oompah music in no time. Prost!
October: October took us to Denver and the GABF, a place where any beer geek can feel right at home. While there, we learned that Denver’s weather can be a bit finicky. It can be cold one day and warm the next. So, this pairing depends on the weather; a refreshing Great Divide Titan IPA when it’s warm or Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout if it’s not.
November: November’s trip took us to San Diego, one of the beer world’s most celebrated meccas. It would be easy to pair this chapter with one of San Diego’s big name breweries, but that would be buying into the hype. There is so much more to San Diego’s beer scene and Alpine Beer Company is a perfect example. One of the area’s more understated breweries, they let the beer speak for itself. I suggest the Alpine Ale, while Chris prefers Pure Hoppiness.
December: We went all out for our final trip of the year. We traveled to Belgium for the Kirstbierfest and aimed to visit all 7 Trappist breweries. The perfect way to celebrate the end of the Year in Beer is to pair this chapter with a Trappist beer. A Westvleteren, if you can get your hands on one, embodies the great accomplishment of reaching the end of our yearlong endeavor. While not my personal favorite, drinking this beer while enjoying the tale of our Belgium adventure will help you feel the same sense of accomplishment that we did when reached our goal. A more accessible alternate is Orval. Always a great beer, drinking one while reading about our visit there will have you packing for Belgium!